All swimmers in the JSL are placed in one of the five competitive age groups based on their age as of June 1st. The age groups are 8 and under, 9-10, 11-12, 13-14 and 15-18 and are separated by gender. 5 and 6 year old swimmers are considered part of the 8 and under age group and can swim any 8 and under event (if deemed appropriate by a coach), but generally only swim in designated 6 and under events. All other swimmers must stay within their age group for all events except relays. Any swimmer can "swim up" or swim in an older age group for relays only as long as the swimmer does not participate in a relay in their own age group.
Because it is impossible to swim all events at every meet in the time allotted, we have two different meet schedules. The short events are offered at every meet (free, back, breast and fly). One long event and one relay is available per meet. The Individual Medley or IM (first event) is always coupled with the Free Relay (last event). The Medley Relay (first event) is always coupled with the Long Free (last event). However, meet directors (with the assistance of coaches) can eliminate or change the schedule of events due to weather delays or other unexpected situations. See the Event Types page for more details.
A typical meet will look like:
|1P||Free Relay (6 and under)|
|1P-2||Free Relay (8 and under)|
|3-10||Individual Medley (IM)|
|73-80||Freestyle Relay (9 and over)
All boys events are odd numbers and girls events are even numbers starting with the youngest age group to the oldest. All 6 and under events, which include the free relay, freestyle and backstroke, are the same number as an 8 and under event but signified with a P after the number. For example,
The last number generally stays the same for the age group and gender. For example all 9-10 boys events include: 3 (IM), 13 (medley relay), 23 (free), 33 (breast), 43 (back), 53 (fly), 63 (long free), 73 (free relay).
The 6 and under age group always swims a Free Relay at the beginning of every meet. This is a mixed event, meaning it is the only event in which male and female swimmers can swim together in a relay or event. It is designated as 1P.
For all events except the short free, the JSL limits the number of heats allowed per meet. The short free for all age groups is open, with unlimited heats. The 7-8 backstroke event is limited to 5 heats per meet and all other individual events are limited to 3 heats per meet, split evenly between the competing teams. One heat of relays is allowed for each age group and gender. For example, in an 8 lane pool each team is allowed to enter 12 swimmers in each age group in all individual events except freestyle and the 7-8 backstroke. In a 6 lane pool, they can enter 9 swimmers per event.
Given the size of CGST, we often have age groups with 25 plus swimmers. Therefore, determining a line-up for a meet can be quite challenging for a coach. Coaches work on the line-ups each Friday before a meet. Once the meet has been downloaded by the JSL deadline (Monday prior to the meet), no changes can be made in individual events. For this reason, it is VERY IMPORTANT that swimmers inform a coach (in writing) if they will not be attending a meet at least a week prior to the scheduled meet. Failure to do so will mean the loss of another swimmer having the opportunity to swim the event officially.
If a team does not use all of their allotted lanes in a heat, the competing team can fill lanes with an exhibition (unofficial) swimmer (see Exhibition Swimmer under meet FAQ's).